(Research and Study Leave: July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023)
I was born and grew up in Quebec and earned degrees in Law and History from the University of Montreal (LL.L. and M.A.). Then I studied at Yale University where I was awarded my M.A. and Ph.D in Assyriology, the discipline dedicated to the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, a region which covers modern Iraq and parts of Syria and Turkey. I held research and faculty appointments at Yale, Harvard, and Notre Dame before coming to the University of Toronto in 2006. My research touches on many aspects of Mesopotamian history and culture: political history, religion, intellectual life, linguistics and philology, with a geographic focus on Babylonia (southern Iraq) and a temporal one on the first millennium BC. I teach introductory courses and seminars on the Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian) and Sumerian languages, the cuneiform script, and lecture courses on ancient Mesopotamia. I also teach a seminar for first year students entitled Babylon: Fact versus Fiction, which explores and contrasts the reality of the civilization of ancient Babylon with the various myths which have grown around the city since Antiquity, such as the Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens.